HealthWorking For Your Health


Why doctors predict a very active 2019 flu season

Posted at 9:25 AM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 09:25:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Many nurses and doctors at hospitals across Richmond are just now getting their flu vaccination. This year’s vaccine was late getting released, so flu vaccines might better match viruses expected to be circulating this year.

U.S. health officials fear a very active flu season, based on statistics from Australia.

Dr. Marsh Cuttino, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Henrico Doctors' Hospital, said the two countries tend to follow similar patterns when it comes to the flu virus.

"Australia had a very bad flu season," Dr. Cuttino said. "The last time Australia had a very bad flu season was 2017, which we were also hit very bad."

Dr. Marsh Cuttino

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with the flu by 40% to 60%. The vaccine can also reduce the risk of hospitalizations for children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.

Pregnant women are also vulnerable to falling very ill with the flu.

A 2017 study showed that the vaccine can significantly reduce a child’s chance of dying from influenza.

"Studies have shown that children who got the flu shot, even if it’s not 100% accurate, have less chance of dying," Dr. Cuttino said. "That's why it’s always important to get your flu shot even if the actual flu shot for that particular year isn’t as accurate as it could be."

Studies showed the vaccine has a cumulative impact. The more flu shots you get over the years, the more increased immunity that you have to the flu. Even people exposed to the flu, have a much greater chance of recovering earlier than those who did not receive the vaccine.

Physicians recommend getting your flu vaccination by the end of October.

Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.

Watch for Working For Your Health reports on CBS 6.